My Personal Story
Dr. Ramon Goforth

I was born in Dallas Texas in January of 1933; the year Adolf Hitler took power in Germany. Herbert Hoover would be President of the US for three more months and then FDR would assume the Presidency for the next 12 years. The great depression was still in effect. We lived on a farm three miles south of Lancaster Texas for the next seven years. During that period of time we did not attend church regularly, although my parents were Christians and members of the First Baptist Church of Lancaster. When WWII started in 1941, my dad got a job in a defense plant in Dallas TX and we moved to "town." Since we lived a couple of blocks from the First Baptist Church we started attending church regularly; at least my mother and I did. My dad was not a regular churchgoer until after I graduated from college. He became very active and took several leadership roles as well as teaching a men's bible class. When I was thirteen, our family was blessed with a baby girl and I became a big brother. My family was important to me and they were always supportive in all my endeavors. They even endured several years of my learning to play the piano. I remain very interested in music and still practice the piano almost daily.

I accepted Christ as my personal Savior when I was ten years old. In childlike faith I believed in the existence of God and that Jesus was His Son whom He sent to die for our sins. The teaching I received in Sunday School and sermons in church made meaningful and lasting impressions. We had a great pastor during my teenage years. He made it a priority to personally teach the bible to the young people. He also challenged us to examine the evidence that God exists. It was simply that if we observe the universe around us, we cannot miss seeing the "fingerprint of God." He took us out one dark night to the football stadium and placed a telescope in the middle of the field. We looked through and observed the wonders of the stars and planets. Our pastor told us that the order of the universe indicates a Creator and that by observing the world and worlds around us we can see that "intelligent design" is evident. He also talked about Jesus--His birth, life, death and resurrection. He taught us that the resurrection is the critical point of Christianity. If the resurrection did not occur, then Christianity is not true. If the resurrection did occur, then only Christianity is true. I was convinced based upon the evidence presented at that time (although I had much to learn about the historical evidence), that the resurrection did occur.

During my senior year in High School, I started dating a freshman girl, Jo Ann Pate. I never dated anyone else after that. She was and is the love of my life. After graduating from high school in 1950 I attended Arlington State College. I transferred to SMU in 1952 and worked as a Co-op student to finance my education. I grew in my walk with the Lord. I was active in church teaching Sunday School and singing in the choir; even playing the piano on occasion. I attended youth revivals (which were really big in the early 50's) led by H.E. Butt, Buckner Fanning, Bo and Dick Baker, and others. I also attended the Billy Graham crusade in Dallas in 1953. The crusade had a tremendous impact on my life as well as many of my closest friends. As a result of the challenges of the crusade I realized that Jesus was not just my Savior but also my Lord. He should lead in all aspects of my life. I made public the dedication of my entire life to the cause and to the Lordship of Christ. As a result, I began to realize the importance of being a witness at the university and on the job by identifying myself as a Christian to those with whom I came into contact. I attempted to let my life be an example. However, I wasn't boldly proclaiming the Gospel as Paul, the Apostle, did.

Jo Ann and I were married in 1954 and I graduated from SMU in 1955 with a B. S. in Industrial/Mechanical Engineering and a commission in the US Air Force. We moved to Seattle Washington and I worked for Boeing Airplane Co. as a research engineer. After about six months I was called to active duty in the Air Force. We moved from to Hempstead LI, New York where I was stationed as an officer in the US Air Force Plant representatives office at Republic Aviation Corp. During the next two years, we were very active in church and also attended the Billy Graham Crusade at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium in 1956.Again, our lives were blessed and challenged as we were made to realize that giving our lives for the cause of Christ is exciting and rewarding During my Air Force days, I tried to be a witness by identifying myself as a Christian and by living my life as an example. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed.

After two years in New York we moved back to Texas where I accepted a job as an engineer at Chance Vought Aircraft Corp. The next 15 years were very exciting with many important events taking place: We bought our first homes, our children, Nannette and James, were born. I earned two more degrees. I received promotions on my job. I became a deacon in the church, taught a men's bible class, sang in the choir. We made many life-long and dear friends. Life was great. Oh there were some down times but mostly very happy times. Our material and spiritual growth was on an upward trend. Both our children accepted Christ and were baptized and we were the model family, living the accepted Christian lifestyle, which seemed so easy in the community in which we lived and the times in which we lived.

I completed my Ph.D. in 1974 and accepted a teaching position at TAMU in 1975. Details of my professional career can be found in my resume. During the time I was working for tenure, I sometimes lost sight of what I was really all about. I found it wasn't easy changing careers in mid-life, uprooting my family from established friends and community and having to prove myself in an academic setting. I had exchanged the corporate pressures for the pressures of "publish or perish." My spiritual growth seemed to be going in a negative direction as well. I was trying too hard on my own. I did not trust enough in God. As I began to examine my walk with the Lord, I developed a plan for daily prayer and Bible study. Gradually, I came to see that my life has meaning when God is leading, not when I am trying to live in my own strength. I am thankful for the support of Christian professors, family and friends who surrounded me with love and encouragement during those trying years. I am thankful for a loving God who is always there for me when the going is tough. He is a God who loves me on a personal level and who is interested in my daily life.

I retired June 1998 from Texas A&M University, but returned in the fall of 1998 to teach half time. Jo Ann and I are actively involved as Faculty Affiliate Staff in campus ministry of Christian Leadership Ministries, a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ. We also are active in our church where we teach a couple's Sunday School Class and sing in the choir.

Being associated with TAMU is a great privilege and honor, but also a great responsibility. We are convinced that we have a great opportunity to impact our culture in a very positive way for Christ. Through our witness to students as well as other faculty, we are home and foreign missionaries, serving at a university where students from many nations come to study. I want to be a positive witness for Christ at TAMU. As I retire fully in 2000 AD, we plan to continue our CLM work, by visiting other universities and other countries with our testimony for Christ in word and in song.

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